Raw Recap: December 5, 2016
S2016 episode 1228 Aired on December 5, 2016

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the surprise opponent WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens finagled for Seth Rollins following The Architect’s obliteration of KO’s (estranged?) bestie, Chris Jericho. As part of a three-pronged “gift” to Jericho, The Prizefighter (with assistance from Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon) summoned Big Show from seclusion to beat on Rollins, but Owens’ strategy of attempting to bark orders at the giant from the corner proved to be a mistake. The World’s Largest Athlete chokeslammed Owens and took the count-out loss willingly, allowing Rollins free rein to dispose of The Prizefighter with a Pedigree.

The good news for Owens (yes, somehow there’s good news) is that he has two more machinations that may yet bear fruit. As part of that olive branch to Jericho, he’s both arranged for a Jericho-Rollins match at Roadblock: End of the Line and, more immediately, a U.S. Title match later in the night between The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla and Owens’ current No. 1 contender, Roman Reigns.

As it turns out, a chokeslam from Big Show does nothing to quell Kevin Owens’ enthusiasm when it comes to punching Sami Zayn. The WWE Universal Champion battled his eternal rival in a match ordained by Raw General Manager Mick Foley and came away with the win, dealing a particularly brutal blow to Zayn’s own hopes in the process.

It was implied by Michael Cole that Zayn, who has been lobbying for a match with Braun Strowman to no avail, might have swayed Foley to sanction that bout if he defeated KO on Raw. The Underdog from the Underground seemed to have the champion put away even after a trio of tornado DDTs, four suplexes and a Blue Thunder Bomb. But Owens’ last-gasp attempt at a Pop-up Powerbomb hit home, and he literally collapsed in a heap on Zayn’s chest to claim the win.

A United States Title Match is a hell of a gift (of Jericho), but Chris Jericho still made it clear to Kevin Owens that he wanted to go it alone against Roman Reigns. Long story short: Owens went ahead and got involved anyway, Jericho’s got no gold and Jeri-KO is looking shakier than ever.

To Owens’ credit, he disregarded his friend’s demand because things were looking particularly do-or-die for The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla — who was challenging for one of the few titles he has yet to win in WWE. Owens blasted Reigns with a superkick right after he escaped the Walls of Jericho. Although the subsequent Codebreaker The Big Dog stumbled into wasn’t enough to pin him, and the ensuing argument between Jericho and Owens (complete with a slap to the chest) lasted long enough that Reigns recovered to set up a Spear. To Jericho’s credit, he leapfrogged straight over Reigns’ charge, but Reigns simply adjusted course, connected with attempt No. 2, and retained his title.

In other action... Jack Gallagher def. Ariya Daivari... WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann def. TJ Perkins... Bayley def. Alicia Fox... Mark Henry def. Titus O’Neil in "The Tussle in Texas"... Rusev and Lana attacked Enzo Amore in a hotel room... Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson ended in a No Contest... Charlotte Flair delivered a public apology to Ric Flair... 

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